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County, city partner to maintain EBT access program at farmers' market

Program allows low-income consumers to use EBT at Dane County Farmers' Market

MADISON, Wis. - Dane County and the city of Madison are partnering to maintain a food access program at the Dane County Farmers' Market that will benefit low-income consumers, according to a release.

The program provides access to healthy local food by allowing consumers who use Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to pay for products from local producers, officials said. The EBT cards are the plastic payment form for low-income individuals receiving food stamps, and the DCFM has a point-of-sale machine to process those funds into paper script to allow EBT cardholders to purchase items at the DCFM.

EBT cardholders swipe their card, choose the amount they'd like to spend at the market and receive DCFM's unique scrip, which can be exchanged with DCFM vendors for food purchase, according to the release.

"We are pleased to join the county to ensure programming is maintained at the Dane County Farmers' Market for SNAP participants," Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said in the release. "SNAP is the critical safety net in the fight against hunger and programming at farmers' markets provides equal opportunity for everyone to access fresh, healthy and local food."

Last year, DCFM customers spent almost $50,000, the most federal food assistance dollars of any market in Wisconsin, according to the release. In early 2014, Community Action Coalition officials said that due to a shortage of program funds, they would be unable to continue to operate EBT redemptions at the DCFM for the duration of the year.

Dane County and the city of Madison are partnering to find a new operator of the program, officials said.

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